A new scam is targeting people who post on Facebook or Craigslist, with fraudsters hoping to access your accounts, or to open new accounts in your name, the federal government says.
The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are contacting people who innocently post on such sites — either to try to sell things, or even to spread the word about a lost pet — and then trying to bilk them.
According to the FTC:
“The scammers contact you and say they want to buy the item you’re selling — or that they found your pet. But before they commit to buying your item, or returning your pet, they feign hesitation. They might say they’ve heard about fake online listings and want to verify that you’re a real person. Or they might say they want to verify that you’re the pet’s true owner.”
At that point, the fraudster sends you a text message with a Google Voice verification code, asking you to give them the code. Once you do so, the crook uses the code to create a Google Voice number linked to your phone number.
The scammer can use the number to conceal his or her identity while ripping off others. Or, scammers may try to get other information about you, so they can tap into your accounts or create accounts in your name.
The FTC urges you never to share any verification code — including one from Google Voice — with anyone you have not contacted first. If you already have fallen victim to the scam, the FTC says you can go to Google and follow the steps to reclaim your number.
For more on steering clear of scams, check out: